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Attendance increase for Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival

June 30, 2014

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival continues to go from strength to strength with the Curragh Racecourse enjoying one of their most successful festivals in recent times. Total attendance increased over the weekend, with an additional 1000 on Friday from 2013, while on Irish Derby Day, attendance increased by 500 people.

Dubai Duty Free sponsored the Festival for the 7th time, while there were an exciting variety of new sponsors and partners including Brown Thomas, The Marker Hotel, Done Deal, Aviva Health, GAIN Horse Feeds, Macari’s of Kildare, Tom Crean’s Irish Lager and Newbridge Silverware who added their name to the prestigious Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes for the first time

The Derby Food Paddock included some of County Kildare’s top restaurants, while the Derby Music Village featuring country music star Nathan Carter on Friday and the Bentley Boys and DJs on Saturday was also great success

Evan Arkwright Commercial Manager of the Curragh Racecourse commented:

“Feedback has been really positive and the strategy to have three very distinct themes worked really well with an informal start to the festival on Friday evening focusing on country music, great style, spectacle and atmosphere on Irish Derby Day and a very successful Family day on Sunday. Our attendance figures have been on the increase since we moved the Irish Derby to a Saturday evening and we are now looking forward to the 150th running of the Irish Derby in 2015 when we hope this trend will continue.”

Catriona Hanley from Raheen in Co. Limerick was announced the winner of the Most Stylish Lady on Irish Derby Day. Catriona was chosen as the overall winner by a judging panel led by TV personality Millie Mackintosh including IMAGE Magazine’s Editor in Chief, Melanie Morris and Head of Personal Shopping at Brown Thomas Stacey O’Donnell.

Catriona walked away with the biggest prize the Irish Derby has given to date worth almost €20,000! Catriona will enjoy a holiday of a lifetime to Dubai, courtesy of Dubai Duty Free and spend five glorious nights in Dubai Duty Free’s own, 5 star hotel, The Jumeirah Creekside as well as €1,000 to spend at the multi award-winning Dubai Duty Free and return flights. There will also be no need to fret about what to wear on the holiday as Catriona will be treated to a Personal Shopping Experience at Brown Thomas Dublin to the value of €3,000 plus and a champagne lunch at the luxury department store’s restaurant for her and three friends! Catriona also received a spectacular 18 carat gold diamond pendant from Boodles and an overnight stay at the Five Star Marker Hotel in Dublin.

Speaking about her win Catriona said “I’m completely over the moon to win such an amazing prize. I can’t wait to book my trip to Dubai and to pick up all my holiday goodies at Brown Thomas! My husband Jason is an Engineer in Saudi Arabia so I can’t wait to spend time with him in Dubai.”

Millie Mackintosh attended the event with her family and looked stunning in a dress and bag by Victoria Beckham, a blue feathered head piece by Irish Milliner Mark T. Burke and shoes by Kurt Geiger all from Brown Thomas, the Irish Derby’s official retail partner for 2014.

On picking a winner Millie said “The competition was really strong at the Curragh today and the standard was in a league of its own, the judges and I were really looking for something unique and I think we found it in Catriona’s look.”

Just under 25,000 people attended The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day with many famous faces including Rory McIlroy, Movie Director Jim Sheridan and his wife Fran, Minister Phil Hogan, Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen, Anne Doyle, TV3’s Alan Hughes, Celebrity stylist and TV Presenter Darren Kennedy, legendary UK jockey Lester Piggott, boxer Bernard Dunne, Celia Holman-Lee, Louis Walsh’s new boy band Home Town and Brent Pope.

World renowned soprano Celine Byrne from Caragh was accompanied by the Millicent Singers and Army Band to perform the Curragh of Kildare this year

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Ball which took place at the K Club on the eve of Irish Derby Day was a huge success with over 300 people in attendance and a significant amount of money raised for the Jack and Jill Foundation, while the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Golf Classic attracted a record 25 teams.

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